Ian McDiarmid on Palpatine’s past and (possible) future

George Lucas and Ian McDiarmid on set, chillin' like a Time Lord

SciFiNow talked to Ian McDiarmid on his Star Wars character. He talks about Palpatine’s spinoff potential and even calls the Darth Palgueis novel ‘fascinating.’

But the highlight is perhaps his own thoughts on the character, and the possibilities going forward:

“I thought Sith were just somehow born evil, that’s what they were. But I’ve… with reference to a few things that George has said, I realised that that’s not true. He might well have a tragic arc too, but I don’t know. And even if he does I’m not sure we’ll ever see it. But obviously, if we did and if it happened it would be something that would be completely fascinating to do and it would be like building a Shakespearean character.

“Also the great thing about these movies is that George doesn’t give much away in advance to anybody,” McDiarmid continues, “which is good because that’s what a good storyteller should do, you should really want to know what’s going to happen next or how it all started.”

“And that’s all there in George’s head, and he’s released it, I suppose, in one way or another over the last few years. And although, of course, Disney now owns the franchise, George is there very much as a creative consultant and I’m sure they’ll be very grateful for that. And those storylines will still continue to emerge from that sort of databank, that extraordinary databank which is his brain.

For all the squee over Plagueis, I never really felt that it revealed much about Palpatine’s own motivation: The character himself is still very much a mystery, and I can how exploring that could be more fruitful with all the EU’s restraints removed. But somehow, I doubt that spinoff is very high on the list…

8 Replies to “Ian McDiarmid on Palpatine’s past and (possible) future”

  1. I never really looked at Plagueis to shed light on Palpatine’s motivations. I appreciated it more for the fact that it really laid out all of the Sith plans during the prequel trilogy in full, especially the ordering of the production of a clone army. What exactly happened there was always a little murky in Episode II since Obi-Wan had to stop playing detective once a war broke out around him.

  2. A Palpatine spin-off would be amazing. And McDiarmid reading Darth Plagueis would be awesome. But then again, Palpatine is my favorite Star Wars character, so I’m somewhat biased. He’s just such a fascinating character. And I get that there is a balancing act between exploration and keeping the mystery. But I’d love to learn more.

  3. @ Anna

    If you click through to the original interview at SciFiNow, McDiarmid says he was gifted with Darth Plagueis at the last Celebration and that he read it. Cool, huh?

  4. Darth Plagueis has tons of revelations about Palpatine – even mentions time spent as a juvenile delinquent. I disagree that this book contained little about his motivation.

    1. To clarify: Yes, there were some details, but I don’t think they ever got into his head. Probably off-limits, alas. Not sure if a movie could pull it off, either, but I certainly wasn’t blown away by DP.

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